Evaluation of shoulder laxity

Edward G. McFarland, Brian M. Torpey, Leigh Ann Curl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


An understanding of the anatomy and biomechanical features of the glenohumeral joint is necessary when understanding the concept of shoulder laxity. Glenohumeral laxity is a normal feature of shoulder motion, but only when that laxity becomes excessive does instability occur. The clinician must use the history and physical examination to distinguish normal from pathological laxity. Several examination techniques are commonly used to evaluate anterior, posterior, inferior, and multidirectional shoulder laxity. It has become appreciated that subluxation of the shoulder upon physical examination does not necessarily mean that the shoulder is clinically or symptomatically unstable. This paper reviews the current techniques to evaluate shoulder laxity and discusses the interpretation of these examinations as they relate to normal and pathological laxities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-272
Number of pages9
JournalSports Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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